Notes on Cubs players working through injuries …
- All things considered, the word on Dexter Fowler’s groin injury is as good as it gets. He felt it on his bunt to open the game, but was thereafter able to steal a base and play a couple innings in the outfield. From there, he said it tightened up on him, and, given the bad weather, it was best to take him out (Cubs.com). He’s not starting today, but is day-to-day. Given the Cubs’ extremely short bench – which is forcing Kris Bryant to start in center field today in Fowler’s place – they’re not going to be able to avoid a disabled list stint for Fowler if he has to miss more than a couple days. As it stands, with 13 pitchers, they’re playing with just three outfielders on the roster (with Bryant as the fourth), no extra infielders (because Jonathan Herrera is now playing third), and two catchers on the bench. That’s not at all sustainable for long.
- Justin Grimm has thrown two bullpen sessions in Arizona as he rehabs from his Spring Training forearm injury (ESPN). That could have him on pace for an extended Spring Training appearance or two within a week or so, and then a rehab assignment thereafter. Optimistically, then, my rough estimate would be something like a mid-May return for Grimm, assuming he needs 10 days or so in the minors to ready himself and clear any health questions.
- Tsuyoshi Wada (groin) made his second rehab start at Iowa last night, going 89 pitches over 5.1 innings, and declared himself physically ready to return to the big leagues if/when the Cubs have a need (Des Moines Register). The tricky part is that the Cubs could most likely use Wada right now in the bullpen (he was so good the first two times through the order last year), but he’s not been prepped for that role. Indeed, he’s clearly being stretched out as a starter, which is something the Cubs can’t use right now. The delicate balance is that a starter injury could pop up at any time, and it would be fantastic to be able, then, to just slot Wada right in and maybe not hurt too badly. But Wada’s rehab assignment can last only 30 days, so there’s a time limit on this thing.
- (At the end of the assignment, the Cubs could try to send Wada to the minors, but I’m not sure how the particulars of his contract interrelate with the options/assignment rules. It’s a little different than for a typical player, because there are special rules for international signees like Wada – but then he was let go by the Orioles, and the Cubs got him on a minor league deal last year, but then the Cubs declined his option and re-signed him … it’s complicated. As we near the end of his rehab assignment, if nothing’s opened up yet, I’ll look into this more.)
- The update on Neil Ramirez is that there is no update. He’s rehabbing in Arizona (shoulder inflammation). If I didn’t include him here, though, folks would ask. So there’s your non-update. You can read all of that as ditto for Jacob Turner, if you’d like.
- EDIT: I meant to include Tommy La Stella here, too. His side injury has been kind of vague, and his DL stint is up tomorrow. He has not gone out on a rehab assignment, though, and there’s been no word on when he might actually be activated.